18 November 2011

Landslides in Art part 12: Low Tide by Arthur Homeshaw

Posted by Dave Petley

Summary: A new post in the series on the ways in which landslides are depicted in art: this time Low Tide by Arthur Homeshaw

It has been a long time since I have posted in my series on landslides in art (part 11 was as long ago as May!), so in celebration of the opening of the Christmas exhibition at the Bianco Nero Gallery tonight, I thought it was time that I put this right.  Thanks to Nick Rosser for bringing this image to my attention.  Part 12 focuses on a painting by the British Artist Arthur Homeshaw, who sadly died earlier this year.  Homeshaw taught art at Queen Elizabeth’s School in Crediton, Devon until his retirement in 1992.  He was a highly respected artist, with work in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The piece below is a linocut entitled Low Tide:

There are a number of interesting aspects to this image that resonate deeply.  First, the picture has a slightly threatening air, and a sense of loneliness and perhaps danger for the two individuals digging at the bottom of the cliff.  The stormy skies suggest bad weather to come.  Second, the attention to detail means that the geological structure – and in particular the steep dips in the rocks – are well-captured.  There is a change in the dip between the cliff and the foreshore, suggesting a complex geological setting.  Note the face parallel fractures in the rock face – surely a clear illustration od stress release jointing?  High on the rock face above the people is a fresh rockfall scar, with some evidence of blocks below.  The pseudo-arrow from the slope indicates the movement, but the material has been mostly removed.  To the left is a block that looks to be next to go, but as this is directly above the people the lurking risk is evident.

The site reminds me of some ongoing and recent landslides, such as the San Pedro slide in California (which appears to be accelerating), the recent cliff collapse in Wales, and this fatal cliff collapse event in Spain.